Name Susanne Leist
Where are you from
Brooklyn, New York
A little about your self
My first career was in Finance. I have an M.B.A. in Finance. I worked in the fields of commodities, financial analysis, and budgeting. The creative side of me was calling out to be set free. I listened and wrote my first book, The Dead Game, a paranormal mystery/thriller with vampires and vampire derivatives.
I am married with two beautiful daughters. My oldest is married and works as a buyer for clothing. My second is graduating from college and will go on to graduate school for social work.
My life is complete.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My book has settled comfortably in its vampire suspense sections on Amazon and Nook. Therefore, I am now ready to begin writing book 2 in the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began to write in earnest about ten years ago. That was the time when I had decided to write a book. It was much harder than I ever could have imagined.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t call myself an author. But I did feel like a writer after my publisher sent me a note informing me that my book had been published and to congratulate me. It felt good—really good.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve read many types of books over my lifetime. I could always figure out early on what’s going to happen, and how the story will end. I wanted to write a book that will follow the way I want it to be written. With Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Linda Fairstein, and Brad Meltzer in mind, I wrote my book. I wrote and re-wrote. I had it edited a second time according to its reviews. Some people want to read more action, while others want to delve deeper into the characters. You can’t please everyone. I tried my best.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My style controls me. Sometimes my mind is in the mood for poetry and at other times it wants a full-fledged murder mystery. So I wait for the perfect moment to write. I write alone without any interruptions.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Dead are supernatural beings that kill and play hard. They play dangerous games with the inhabitants of Oasis. Hence, The Dead Game.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The town of Oasis, on the coast of Florida, appears too good to be true, with its calm ocean waters, palm trees, trade winds, and white-sanded beaches. Beneath the bright sunshine lies an evil so dark and deadly, ready to take over the town.
Nothing can be too good to be true.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
There could be such a town in Florida, where certain residents hide during the day, to only come out at night. The residents and tourists can be spooked by the colder winds and the dark shadows roaming the town. Dead bodies rolling in with shore can happen in beach communities. The rest of the story can be the result of someone’s over-active imagination or not. It’s up to the reader to believe or disbelieve.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Personally, I haven’t had any spooky or unusual situations. But I watched many horror shows when I was growing up. And my favorite authors were suspense and mystery writers. Agatha Christie’s Murder at End House inspired the name for my haunted house. The old movie, The Blob, inspired me to write about a red liquid oozing into End House. The TV show, The Avengers, gave me the idea for a house with changing rooms. The rest I filled in with my own imagination.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Agatha Christie had been my first foray into the genre of murder mystery. I was ten years old when I began to read her books. I also read Sherlock Holmes and Alistair Maclean. These books taught me the methods needed to analyze clues and crime scenes. In later years, I continued to read mysteries, but my favorites are Brad Meltzer and Linda Fairstein. When I was reading Meltzer’s Zero Game, I decided that I should try to write my own book. He doesn’t write in a pompous way like some authors. He follows through with the plot and clues. I was inspired.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading the series by Deborah Harkness. I’m finishing book 2. It has a lot of history that I’m not familiar with. But I like her books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
In the past few years, I found Michael Koryta. His books are different. They are hard to categorize. They have mystery, paranormal, and unusual stories and events. I like that they are a little creepy.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My current project is to begin writing book 2, while continue promoting book 1. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fellow authors have supported me. Authors, who I met on Facebook and Goodreads, answered my questions and offered advice on how to market my book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It has become my career. I work 12 hours a day at it so it is officially my career. No one would do that for a hobby.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ve changed a lot already according to my reviews. I should have given my main characters a deeper role together. Readers want more depth to the characters. We know what they feel about each other. They just haven’t acted on it. Now that they have been introduced and had gone through a lot together, I could delve further into their psyches in book 2.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I helped my daughters write essays in their applications for college. One of them I really liked. I was surprised that I had written it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
On my blogs, I’ve been experimenting with poetry. I’ve been receiving a positive response. I wanted to experiment with different types of writing before I began the second book.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I wish I could write perfectly the first time around and not have to edit and re-edit. I’m a perfectionist and I could edit any writing to the death.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I told my publisher what I wanted on the cover. I wanted a partially open door with blood dripping outward from it. A hand would be reaching out from the inside. Outskirts Publishing offered me a closed door with fire around it. At least I got a door. The door is important for the story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I must stick to my ideas and opinions. It is always good to take constructive criticism, but it depends upon who it’s coming from. Most authors are helpful and supportive but some can be mean and vindictive. Such is life.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice for a new writer is to have everything in place before you launch your book. I had nothing in place when I was told my book was published. I had to open Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Blog accounts. I had to write summaries to put alongside my books that were sitting and waiting for me on Nook and Amazon. It took me months to figure out how everything worked. I read articles about how to market books.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I wrote my book based on the love I have for mystery and the paranormal. The TV show, Supernatural, inspired the humor in the dialogue. The TV show, The Originals, reminded me of the elegance and beauty of vampires.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I had an older brother who I looked up to. He read two or three books a week.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Witty dialogue makes me laugh. One example is The Big Bang Theory. Anything bad happening to animals makes me cry. I still haven’t gotten over Lassie not coming home in Lassie Come Home.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet my brother again, now that I’m older. I want to tell him how much I miss him, and I think about him every single day.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
She tried the best she could to make her family happy.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to swim and read books.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Supernatural, Reign, The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Elementary, Forever, The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?